I was delighted to escape the rain to visit Souli Café on George Street, Marylebone. This rustic café and takeaway opened a month ago and I got to try out their range of sandwiches, soups, salads and drinks.
This was refreshingly unlike most London cafes where you’re herded in and out as quickly as possible. Souli’s ethos is to provide fresh, quality foods without the waiting time that you’d normally have. Although primarily a takeaway café, there are a few tables for those who want to eat in.
Souli has been lovingly decorated by owner Hella Souli to give a spacious, rustic and homely feel. The high ceiling holds custom designed lanterns attached to copper pipes. The back wall is adorned with jars of preserved vegetables, sauce ingredients and large loafs of their special breads. The exposed wooden floor completes the charming aesthetic.
All of their sandwiches are made from bread sourced from an independent bakery, who mainly supplies markets in London. Their range of sandwiches are freshly made and only left on the shelf for an hour before being replaced. Hella places a heavy emphasis on offering a consistent freshness in their food for every customer. I tried three of their sandwiches and my favourite was the porchetta with rocket and a thick chutney. The chutney offered a sharp addition to the other flavours and the crusty bread. I also enjoyed their marinated goat cheese sandwich, with caramelised onions, marinated peppers and radish. I finished with a thinly sliced mortadella with rocket and their homemade mayonnaise. All were delicious with flavours that blended perfectly with the fresh, crusty bread.
Souli are the only café in London to serve Sant’ Estachio coffee. This coffee company was established in Rome in 1937 and is renowned for its quality and taste. Souli were visited by the owner who taught them how to get the most flavour from this coffee. This attention to detail and passion to offer the best flavours is clear throughout Souli’s range of food and drinks. They also provide a wide variety of Mariage Freres gourmet teas, which was established by brothers Henri and Edouard Mariage in 1854. I tried a Marco Polo, which had a uniquely velvety taste.
Souli open at 7am and offer a breakfast range of porridges, toasts and pastries. Many of these are gluten free. Their wide range of sandwiches, salads and soups of the day offer a range of high quality and healthy lunches. I also tried the French onion soup, which had a thick, rich flavour and was topped with crusty croutons.
Hella tells me how they are looking to open on Saturdays as well as word starts to spread. Their classic sandwiches will form the staple of their menu and the rest will gradually evolve as their client base does.
The passion Hella has for the quality and style of Souli really sets it apart from your average London cafe. I’d definitely try it out for its fresh sandwiches and its range of cakes, cup-cakes and gourmet teas and coffees.
Follow them on Twitter @soulifood.
Address: 17 George St, Marylebone, London W1U 3QN
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:00 am – 5:00 pm
Written by Martin Stocks